Authors: Mertes, Marc
Title: Advancing the knowledge of the terrorist hostage dilemma
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Hostage-takings, in which terrorists abduct people and threaten to kill them, unless the authorities agree to fulfill their demands, are a global problem. Whether authorities should concede to such demands is a controversial debate because concessions might be the only way to save the hostages lives, but were also shown to increase the likelihood of future abductions. This thesis advances the theoretical and practical understanding of this terrorist hostage dilemma. In the first and second article, I analyzed data on terrorist hostage takings from the recent decades. Results showed that even partial fulfillment of the hostage takers’ demands reduces the number of casualties among the hostages and increases the likelihood of a safe hostage release. The third article describes three further studies, which investigated popular support for the no-concessions policy (i.e., the political guideline saying that no concessions should be made to terrorists). In a survey study and two online experiments, we found that popular support for this policy (a) is overall high, (b) can be reduced by providing information on the benefits of concessions, and (c) is lower when the benefits of concessions outweigh the costs. In sum, the research presented here contributes to a better understanding of the consequences of authority concessions to terrorist hostage-takers as well as moral judgement in the terrorist hostage dilemma. The findings may help authorities make evidence-based decisions that can potentially save lives.
Subject Headings: Terrorismus
Moralisches Dilemma
Subject Headings (RSWK): Terrorismus
Issue Date: 2022
Appears in Collections:Lehrbereich für Sozial-, Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie

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